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Health and Fitness information to improve your quality of life

Learn To Cherish Your Alone Time

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Growing Older The Cycle Of Life

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I took a trip home to visit my ninety year old mom this past weekend.  My older sister, met me at my brother’s house where we spent the night on Friday.  Our plan was to leave our brother’s house early Saturday and go visit our mother for the weekend.

We all had a blast Friday night drinking wine and reliving our youth with stories of the past.

We got up early Saturday morning and headed to the small town in south Georgia where we grew up.   Although there was at one time a grocery store, hardware store, drug store and dry cleaner, only the post office remains open.  It brought back so many memories of walking to the small downtown area as teenagers to get the mail and buy treats with our allowances.

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It felt so strange as my sister and I walked into the post office, forty years later to see our old mail box.  My mom still uses it to this day. We laughed as we tried to remember the combination but alas too many years had passed. So many memories in this small little town I used to call home.

Here’s a pic of us present day on the left and forty years ago on the right as teenagers –  pretending to be models  🙂

 

We decided to visit the old Baptist church where we spent a lot of our childhood. We walked into the service on Sunday and was shocked to see the church still had the same olive-green carpet forty years later.  It was sad to see only 25 members in church that day; our church was thriving when we attended in our youth.  It was another sign of how many small towns wither away over time. Our small downtown area now looked almost like a ghost town.

As the preacher began his sermon I felt like I had stepped into a time machine and returned back to the 1970’s.  We were in the back pew where we always sat in our youth.  There were few people we recognized, mostly parents of classmates and friends we knew as children; now in their seventies and eighties.  At the end of the service we were welcomed with open arms and we had a blast catching up after so many years.

My sister and I quietly walked home after the service, like we had so many days in our youth, feeling emotional and nostalgic.

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First Baptist Church Main Street

As we walked in the door of my childhood home, I began to think more about my own aging and the cycle of life.

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Where did all the time go?  How could I be fifty-seven years of age and my sister sixty? It seemed only yesterday we were teenagers in this house listening to the “top forty” on the radio, discussing our dates, and fighting over clothes and boyfriends.

As we walked in the back door, I saw my sweet ninety year old mother lying on the couch.  She looked so sad and weak.  I struggled to understand why a large part of the elderly population end up alone and with such a poor quality of life. This once lively home filled with children and laughter was now quiet, dark, and somber.

It makes me contemplate the life cycle and think more about where I am in the aging process.  As I grow older, time seems to go by faster. What will my quality of life be like when I’m older?  No one wants to think about declining health and becoming dependent on others.  But If you want some control over how you’re going to live your golden years, you obviously have to develop a plan of action.  I have no desire to leave it to chance.

I found this article that compares the aging process to the Stages Of Grief Applied To Aging :

 

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Selfie with my mom

 

Where do you think you might be today?

Denial – how can I be getting old? Just yesterday I was graduating college with the world at my feet, nothing too impossible, dreams just waiting to be realized. Sure some years have passed since then but old? Not me. It just doesn’t make any sense. It cannot be – I won’t let it!

Anger – screw this! I don’t deserve to have to endure the weight of the years, the aches and pains, the challenges faced in what were once basic, simple endeavors. It’s not fair and I am mad as heck.

Bargaining – I am going to work out four days a week and eat only healthy food. I am going to get my rest, avoid stress, see my doctor on a regular basis, and give up drinking. I am willing to do all of this in the hopes that I can delay my aging. Okay? Will that work? I am committed to doing whatever it takes. Surely I can beat this thing.

Depression – there is no avoiding it, there is nothing I can do, I am doomed.

Acceptance – although I am aging with potential physical and mental challenges waiting around every corner, I am still alive. I can experience a good quality of life living within my limitations. So I will no longer be the fastest on the tennis court or able to bench press twice my body weight – I accept that. What I can do is live my life as it is to the fullest possible extent. I have learned wisdom with age and will gladly share my worldly knowledge with those seeking my advice. I appreciate the beauty of a song, can revel in the wonder of a sunset, marvel at the excitement a baby shows experiencing life’s moments for the first time, genuinely share the pain felt in the loss of a loved one, and appreciate my spouse for each and every detail, quirk, and habit that have been such a vital part of my life. I accept me for who I am. Old age – bring it on!

“Getting old is not for sissies. But we are not the first nor will we be the last to negotiate the journey. Knowing that we are in a particular stage in a progression may give us hope as surviving each elevates us to the next, eventually ending with our acceptance of life as it is.”

I feel like I’m in between the bargaining and acceptance stage.  I’m starting to accept the fact that although I’m in good shape for my age and work as a fitness and yoga instructor; I still have limitations. However, I take pride in leading a healthy lifestyle and promoting the importance of diet and exercise.  My background in health and fitness has helped me to understand the impact of lifestyle on how we age.

I admire my mother so much for the qualities she instilled in me and still has to this day.  She has always been strong and had the attitude to “never give up.”  She continues to fight for what little bit of independence she has left although her health has significantly declined.  I noticed after my dad passed away that she gradually became less active and developed a poor appetite.  Her weight loss and inactivity left her weak, leading to more health issues, additional meds, and more side effects.

As I contemplate the cycle of aging; I’ve begun to  understand the need to optimize your health as you age.  The old saying “if you don’t use it, you lose it” is so true.  Life should be lived to it’s fullest, enjoying the simple things, cherishing those you love, and living a healthy lifestyle.   That’s the key to moving into  the acceptance phase of the aging process.  I plan to make sure I reach the end of this life cycle with no regrets!


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BodyBalance- Tai Chi, Yoga, and Pilates

BodyBalance sequence

Love teaching Les Mills Body Balance classes.  They provide us with the most up to date education in the industry; as well as choreography and music.

 

 

Here is a teaser for the general class design:

Their ab tracks are amazing and one of the reasons at age 57, I keep a strong core and good abs.

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Check with your local gym and see if they offer Les Mills classes. They have something for everyone- Weight training, kickbox, cardio conditioning and more.


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I’m writing this at 4 am due to the fact that I’ve been up most of the night with a “splitting headache.”  I’ve had a headache the last day and a half that wouldn’t go away even with my occasional ibuprofen.

As a fitness professional, I hate taking medicine and use it as a last resort. I’m healthy, eat a clean diet, and get plenty of exercise.  At age 57, I take no medication and feel better than I did in my thirties.

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I developed my headache a day and a half ago and attributed it to allergies.  I was occasionally sneezing and had “teary eyes.”  However, after taking ibuprofen at bedtime and applying ice packs to my forehead, I still had no relief.  I woke up several times during the night and finally at 3:45 am decided to get up.

I have 3 fitness classes to teach this morning and it wasn’t going to be pretty; simply getting up and moving around made me feel like I  had a horrible hangover.  So how was I going to teach?  I decided I’d try to drink some water and eat something to see if that would make a difference.  I had already increased my water intake when my head started throbbing;  I know dehydration can cause headaches.  But that didn’t seem to help.  I walked downstairs to make some “bulletproof coffee” which is simply coffee with grass-fed butter and coconut oil hoping that would help.

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I have two vices coffee and peanut butter!  I mean that’s not bad….right??

 

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Peanut butter is a good source of protein and healthy fats. Here are some additional benefits of consumption: Health Benefits of Peanut Butter.  Be careful and buy a healthy brand though; you can find more info in my article: Are There Dangers Lurking In Your Peanut Butter?

However my number one vice, coffee contains antioxidants and caffeine to help boost physical performance and muscle recovery.

Health benefits of coffee

Therefore my two little vices can’t be that bad- right??  Unless it’s caffeine withdrawal.

I tend to get into trouble when I get off schedule and that’s what happened to bring about my misery.  I suddenly remembered as I walked into the kitchen at 4 am and  gazed at my coffee maker that I drank instant decaf coffee the morning this all started.  Which meant NO CAFFEINE FOR AN ENTIRE DAY AND A HALF!  BINGO- I had a headache that only caffeine would cure.  Sure enough after drinking my first cup I began to feel better.  This made me realize the need to cut down on my caffeine consumption.   The article –Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms
points out:

Caffeine withdrawal is no laughing matter and can be very debilitating for those who are suddenly without caffeine.

This made me realize how truly tormenting it must be to have an addiction to something more serious such as alcohol, cigarettes, painkillers, cocaine, etc.  I mean even with my simple caffeine withdrawal headache, I was desperate to get some caffeine to see if it would make me feel better. A good but painful lesson. Now hopefully I can get more sleep and be refreshed to teach my classes. Wish me luck 🙂

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Six Pack ABS -Try My Intense AB Circuit

Ready for an intense workout that will get your heart pumping and  will help you create lean, defined abs?

It’s the weekend, don’t let it destroy your progress and hard work you put in during the week 🙂  It’s ok to plan one cheat meal but offset it with a little more activity and clean eating the rest of the day.

The abdominal muscles can be the hardest to uncover and define as it is one of the areas many people store fat.  To see definition in the abs requires a clean diet and a workout plan that includes cardio, weight training and core work.  Check out my ab circuit that will help get you started.  20170613_075037

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Things Will Only Change When I Change

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We all struggle with making peace with our food choices, finding time to exercise and balancing family life. So learn to enjoy each day with a goal to do the best you can by making healthy food choices and increasing your activity during the day. Lose the guilt when you can’t find time for your workout or if you slip up and cave in to that piece of pizza or doughnut.


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Life is a roller coaster ride; learn to find balance and peace by losing the “all or nothing” attitude and always picking yourself back up and getting back on track. Fuel your body with what it needs to stay healthy and active most of the time but learn to enjoy, splurge and celebrate life’s special moments without the guilt.


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You Control Your Health

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Although hereditary factors can play a part in some diseases, you have a lot more control of your health than you might think. Your body is an amazing machine designed to heal, but with continued abuse of unhealthy food choices and inactivity, you can end up with permanent damage. There comes a point where your body gives in and stops fighting. You are left with an increased chance of developing diseases such as: diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, or auto-immune disorders.

Once this occurs you have damage that can’t be reversed. Diabetes can lead to blindness, loss of limbs, and even coma. Heart disease and hypertension can cause heart attacks, stroke, and leave you dependent on others for your care.

You have the ability and the choice everyday to make good decisions regarding your food choices and activity level.  Don’t wake up one day and regret the opportunities you had to take care of yourself and live a better quality of life.

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Click on this link to read my article on six steps to reduce fat and get lean

Don’t wait another day to start making small changes to your diet and lifestyle. You will be amazed at how much better you feel mentally and physically as you begin to decrease consumption of junk foods and develop a consistent exercise program.

LAU HANLY reports in the article:

Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of a Healthy Diet

Over the course of your life, the benefits of a consistently healthy diet really add up. You are less likely to develop cancer, arthritis, memory loss, dementia and macular degeneration. You’re at a reduced risk of getting heart attacks, blood clots, of sustaining falls and fractures, of getting diabetes, and of having nutritional deficiencies that otherwise become more difficult to treat as you age. You’re also likely to live longer, and to be happier and more active than people who have eaten a less healthy diet.